The San Antonio Spurs made history on Tuesday when they hired former WNBA star Becky Hammon to be the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history and just the second female assistant ever. But Hammon says she wants to be viewed the same as any other assistant in the league.
“I want the players to think of me as another unimportant assistant they don’t respect all that much, just as they would a male assistant,” said Hammon. “When I talk to them, I want them to not even turn in my direction or, if they do, to just kind of look right through me as though I don’t even exist. If and when that happens, I’ll know that I’ve made it.”
Hammon says she has talked to other assistants around the league about ways she can fit in.
“They said to just do what every assistant does and it will work out fine,” said the former San Antonio Stars point guard. “They said I should restate exactly what the head coach just said, parrot basketball cliches and fulfill player requests for water and towels. If I do that, I’ll fade into the background with all the other assistants in no time.”
Longtime Spurs veteran Tim Duncan says having a female assistant coach won’t change anything with the team.
“‘How will we feel with a female … assistant coach’ you said?” Duncan ask. “‘Assistant coach?’ Yeah, I honestly don’t know the names of any of our assistant coaches. There’s Pop and then there’s, like, a general blur of people who stand around him. If a percentage of that blur is female, fine by me. Whatever.”
After being told what Duncan said, Hannon couldn’t help but smile.
“Oh, wow. Being ignored by a legend like that would be a dream come true,” she said.
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